NEWS AND ISSUES


March 17, 2010


Joel Klein
Chancellor
Department of Education
52 Chambers Street
New York, New York 10007

Sharon Greenberger
President & CEO
School Construction Authority
30-30 Thomson Avenue
Long Island City, New York 11101


Dear Chancellor Klein and President Greenberger

As elected officials representing the Upper West Side of Manhattan, where M044 (100 West 77 Street) is located, we write to request information regarding ongoing plans to site a new three-section elementary school (PS 452) in the building.

We appreciate that the New York City Department of Education (DOE) has proposed the creation of this new K-5 elementary school within the M044 complex in response to concerns that we, the District 3 Community Education Council (CEC3), and many of our constituents have raised about severe overcrowding in southern District 3 schools. We also appreciate the participation of the DOE in the January 27, 2010 tour of the M044 building, which included representatives of the four schools that are currently in the building, CEC3, the United Federation of Teachers, and elected officials. This tour gave DOE the opportunity to update its space survey to reflect the actual utilization and availability of each room within the building. Additionally, documents provided by DOE helped us to understand the general manner in which space is assessed and allocated.

Nonetheless, concerns about the future capacity of M044 remain. The PS 452 Educational Impact Statement projects a net enrollment of 1,342 students in the M044 building during the 2015-2016 school year, yet DOE's Office of Space Planning reports that M044's current target capacity is only 1,253 students. DOE has indicated that existing space within the building could be reconfigured or otherwise altered to increase the total capacity. However, on February 24, 2010, CEC3 passed a resolution expressing doubt "that there is adequate space within the MS44 building" for PS 452 to co-exist with Anderson and the Computer School. In light of this resolution, we request that DOE and the New York City School Construction Authority (SCA) detail their plans to accommodate all of the co-located schools, including which rooms it plans to renovate, as soon as possible. We understand that the final planning of space allocation will be done with input from the principals of the co-located schools. Still, we would like to understand how DOE and SCA plan to accommodate the projected number of enrolled students. It is essential that we assure families whose children will attend these schools that there will be sufficient space in the building for each school to provide a quality education.

We also note here our strong support for the provision in the aforementioned CEC3 resolution urging DOE and SCA to identify additional Kindergarten seats in the southern portion of D3 in order to more comprehensively address the persistent overcrowding in the area. Parents report that, as of March 12 – the end of the pre-registration period – intake at PS 199 and PS 87 had significantly exceeded available space at PS 452 and nearby PS 191. That said, given the aforementioned space constraints, we understand that expanding PS 452 or any other school in the M044 building is not an option.

We thank you for considering our request and we look forward to continuing to work with you to resolve urgent and systemic problems in Community School District 3.

Sincerely,


Jerrold Nadler
U.S. Congressmember

Scott M. Stringer
Manhattan Borough President

Thomas K. Duane
New York State Senator

Linda B. Rosenthal
New York State Assemblymember

Richard N. Gottfried
New York State Assemblymember

Gale A. Brewer
New York City Councilmember

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